Why Marnus sets the Test bar for Langer
Marnus Labuschagne's 'hard edge' and Ashes runs provide the prototype for Australia's batting aspirants as Justin Langer reveals his first Test selection parameters.
When head coach Langer and chairman of selectors Trevor Hohns on Wednesday choose their first Test squad to face Pakistan in Brisbane, results will be forensically examined and so will the gumption of candidates.
This explains why men like Labuschagne and Cam Bancroft will always be in contention on Langer's watch.
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"We don't just select on numbers, otherwise the scorer could select the team," said Langer of Labuschagne, who came from the clouds to secure an Ashes squad berth then score 353 runs at 50 across four Tests in England.
"We select on all these other layers. It doesn't surprise me that he has come in and done so well because we see all these parts of his character.
"Selection is one of the toughest parts of the job because we have a lot of talent and by the time these Shield and Australia A games are played out, we look back at what happened in England and their careers. We will come up with a good top six."
Labuschagne managed 423 Sheffield Shield runs at 24 last season and averaged an unremarkable 30 in the two-Test series against Sri Lanka.
"One thing I have learnt is that most people see on the surface how someone performs in state cricket," Langer told News Corp Australia.
"We get the best seat in the house, how they train, how they are around the group, how they are towards the public, batting technique."
Travis Head and Will Pucovski are vying for a middle order berth in Brisbane's Test series opener, while Joe Burns, Marcus Harris, Bancroft and Usman Khawaja are battling to partner David Warner.
Head was dropped for the final Test Australia lost to England at The Oval despite a Test average of 42.7.
Langer insists he and fellow opening great Matthew Hayden were hardened by selection knocks.
"We were mentally better for the experience of being dropped," said Langer.
"Travis Head is a terrific player, tough that he missed out in the last Test match but it is part of his development. It is all part of him learning.
"Usman has been a brilliant No.3 but got dropped, but we all went through those tough times to be ready."
Bancroft's fanatical approach to training remains a trump card as the versatile batsman receives a gold-plated chance to impress against Pakistan in Perth.
Bancroft replaced Nic Maddinson - who has withdrawn due to mental health reasons - in the Australia A squad.
"I remember Steve Waugh in our Hampshire training camp in England asking about Marnus and Cam Bancroft. He said 'I have never seen anything like that, the way they train and go about their business'," recalled Langer.
"That is the future of Australian cricket, isn't it."
Langer notes Pucovski "is a very talented cricketer, no doubt about it".
However, Maddinson's withdrawal from the Australia A clash is a timely reminder to be cautious with promotion of Pucovski to the baggy green.